GS II Representation of People's Act SHAKTI AVASTHY
About me AIR 296- CSE 2017 Allotted IRS (Income Tax), will join soon CSE 2016 Gave interview Civil Engineer- Birla Institute of Technology. Mesra -Ranchi
Salient features of the Representation of People's Ac Introduction Sections, Analysis, Suggestions Developments over the years Recent sections in news -8(4), 29A, 33(7) Representation of the People (Amendment) Bill of 2017
Introduction Article 327 of Constitution Subject to the provisions of this Constitution Parliament may from time to time by law make provision with respect to all matters relating to, or in connection with, elections to either House of Parliament or to the House or either House of the Legislature of a State including the preparation of electoral rolls, the delimitation o constituencies and all other matters necessary for securing the due constitution of such House or Houses. Article 328 of Constitution Subject to the provisions of this Constitution and in so far as provision in thaf behalf is not made by Parliament, the Legislature of a State may from time to time by law make provision wit respect to all matters relating to, or in connection with, the elections to the House or either House of the Legislature of the State including the preparation of electoral rolls and all other matters necessary for securing the due constitution of such House or Houses. Article 324 to 329 of Part XV of the Constitution deals with the Elections.
Introduction In accordance with above mentioned articles, Parliament has enacted laws like Representation of the People Act 1950 (RPA Act 1950), Representation of the People Act 1951 (RPA Act 1951) and Delimitation Commission Act of 1952. Representation of Peoples Act 950 (RPA Act 1950) provides for An Act to provide the allocation of seats in, and the delimitation of constituencies for the purpose of election to, the House of the People and the Legislatures of States, the qualifications of voters at such elections, the preparation of electoral rolls, [the manner of filling seats in the Council of States to be filled by representatives of [Union territories]], and matters connected therewith.
Introduction Representation of Peoples Act 1951 (RPA Act 1951) provides f An Act to provide for the conduct of elections to the Houses of Parliament and to the House or Houses of the Legislature of each State, the qualifications and disqualifications for membership of those Houses, the corrupt practices and other offences at or in connection with such elections and the decision of doubts and disputes arising out of or in connection with such elections
Section, analysis, suggestions Section Analysis Suggestic Section 8(3) of the law exempts Not in consonance with spirit of Harmonization with Lily Thomas convicted law makers from disqualification if the sentence is less than 2 years. Lily Thomas case (2013) case (2013) Section 8(4) gave 3 month time to MLA/MLC/MP to appeal their conviction. However, this was given ultra vires after Lily Thomas case (2013) Judgement said those who are convicted of a crime and awarded a minimum of 2 year imprisonment lose their membership of House with immediate effect. In consonance with idea of free & fair elections Extend Lily Thomas j (2013) to 8(3) udgement
Section, analysis, suggestions Section Analysis Suggestic Section 29A which is regarding registration of political parties with the Election Commission. It does not give EC the power to de- register a political party. Of the more than 1100 parties registered with the Election Commission in 2009, only about 360 actually contested the general election that year More analysis on this later. Declaration as arbitrary irrational and ultra-vires of the Constitution and to authorise the poll panel to register and unregister politic Section 33(7) that allows a candidate to fight from two seats at the same time. (This section was added after recommendation of Dinesh Goswami Committee to restrict candidates to contest More analysis on this later. from more than two seats earlier) Additional financial burden on public exchequer, government manpower and other resources for holding a by-election against the resultant vacancy. Law Commission (170th 255th report) has also proposed to bar candidates from contesting from more than one constituency
Section, analysis, suggestions Section Analysis Suggestic Section 58A empowers ECI to cancel election on grounds of booth capturing only Incomplete criteria to prevent money & muscle power in elections. Section 58A to include money influence as criteria for ECI to cancel or adjourn elections Recently, ECI decided to express their opinion on same Two concerns- not much punitive powers with ECI & invasion on freedom of speech & expression. Clearer provisions with detailing's to ensure standardization & clear powers to ECI. Section 123(3), and 123(3A) related to hate speech Section 125A provides for only 6 month declaration if giving false information on election affidavits. Too less punishment. Stricter punishment.
Section, analysis, suggestions Section Analysis Suggestic Section 77 obligates every candidate to keep a separate current account of expenditures incurred for the election. However, clause (a) of explanation (1) to Section 77 declares that money spent by leaders of a party on air travel or other means of transport for propagating the programme of the party should not be included in the candidate's expenses Not a holistic way to keep check on money power in elections. There must be a certain cap on the party expenditure too and that must be strictly monitored. Expense Monitoring Cell: for more effective implementation of election funding bnder ECI
Section, analysis, suggestions Section Analysis Suggestic Section 126-It forbids display of election matter through print or television, 48 hours before the polling starts. This is valid only for the constituency in which the polling would begin and not in other constituencies in multi- phase polls Less relevant in world of social media. Include social media as well as reducing multi-phase polling Section 126A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951: it prohibits conduct of exit poll and dissemination of their results during the period mentioned therein, the hour fixed for commencement of polls in the first phase and half hour after the time fixed for close of poll for the last phase in all the states and union territories. Opinion Poll not included. Strict guidelines to be set Opinion Polls.
Section, analysis, suggestions Section Analysis Suggestic Section 127A of the Representatives of the People Act, 1951: The printing and publication of election pamphlets, posters etc. is governed by its provisions which make it mandatory to bear on its face the names and address of the printer and the publisher Ensures transparency, accountability & openness. Insertion of Section 62(2): which allowed a person in detention to contest elections as he's no longer ceased to be an elector as his name is included in the electoral roll except for conviction in certain cases Standardized policy to take care of such person in detention as it is an exceptional circumstance Would he/she be able to successfully represent the voice of people if got elected?
Section, analysis, suggestions Section Analysis Suggestic Lets huge money coming into the elections and this money may belong to some anti social elements too Options like State Funding of elections & cap on total expenditure could be put in place. No capping on party expenditure The RPA law fails to offer significant powers to the Election Commission to reprimand those parties which are habitual offenders of spreading communalism or inciting hatred to win votes. Disturbs the fabric of elections where development no more remains the core agenda. Powers to be given to ECl in Section 123.
Judicial pronouncement in context of RPA Jan Chowkidar, 2013 Earlier right to vote denied to the persons in custody but they could contest election. In this judgement SC upheld ruling of Patna HC, Persons in lawful custody whether convicted in a criminal case or otherwise - cannot contest elections as he is not entitled to vote by virtue of Section 62(5) of the RPA and accordingly was not an "elector". Abhiram Singh v/s C.D. Comachen - Ruling on Section 123 of RP Complete ban on any reference or appeal to religion, race, community, caste and language during elections as it will amount to corrupt practice. This is how elections of our country have truly been disassociated with the religion.
Representation of the People (Amendment) Bill of 2017 2. Service votes As of now, an army man's wife is entitled to be enrolled as a service voter, but a woman army officer's husband is not, according to the provisions in the electoral law. The draft bill proposes to replace the term 'wife' with 'spouse', thus making the provision gender neutral. This step is in synchronisation with the efforts of the government to ensure the gender justice. 3. In addition there were other amendments like limiting of election sources of party funds of amount greater than Rs 2000, repealing of expenditure, introduction of NOTA (None of the Above) and declaration of section 8(4) which allowed convicted MP's, MLA's to stand for elections by filing a complaint there by putting hold on corrupt leaders finding way into the Parliament and instilling a sense of integrity.
Section 8(4) old section-A disqualification under either sub-section shall not in the case of a person who on the date of the conviction is a member of Parliament or the Legislature of a State, take effect until three months have elapsed from that date or, if within that period an appeal or application for revision is brought in respect of the conviction or the sentence, until that appeal or application is disposed of by the court July 2013: SC upholds Patna High Court judgment debarring persons in judicial and police custody from contesting elections (Section 62 (5) of the Representation of the People Act 1951). Bench said: "We have heard counsel for the [political] parties and we do not find any infirmity in the findings of the High Court in the impugned common order that a person who has no right to vote by virtue of the provisions of Section 62 (5) of the Representation of the People Act 1951 is not an elector and is therefore not qualified to contest the election to the House of the People or the Legislative Assembly of a State."
Section 29A In news - Supreme Court has recently decided to examine the powers of Election Commission in terms of disqualifying convicted persons from forming political parties or becoming office-bearer of a party. Before its introduction, in 1988, the process was fully regulated by the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968 which is operated by the Election Commission. Under the Symbols Order, an association needed to achieve tangible proofof 1% of the valid votes to be secured by applicant party for registration. Concerns: 1. Proliferation of many political parties in the country since the Election Commission 2. They avail all the facilities like, tax exemption, political fund contributions, whereas had no option the number of political parties which regularly contest elections is limited to certain number of registered political parties.
Section 29A 3. Convict of heinous crimes: Even a person who has been convicted for heinous crimes like murder, rape, smuggling, money laundering, loot, sedition, or dacoity, can form a political party and become its President or Office bearers. 4. Threat to inner-party democracy. Way forward - According to Dinesh Goswami Committee the new provision in section 29A hardly serves any purpose towards improving the electoral functioning in the country. It thereby recommended the deletion of the section.
Section 33(7) Expense of people coming to vote Teacher job, school off Guruswamy committee, Law Commission also recommende Reform not done as not widespread, only PM, CM candidate fight this way Against simultaneous elections Regarding the next by-election, people may not vote fairly sometimes people contest 2 places to ensure political influence in that place Also, if winners were to pay for causing by-elections, what about those caused by the resignations of sitting MPs, like those of the YSR Congress last week
Source Electoral bondsaebook.com/finmin.goi/photos/ms.c.e w2ND b ps.a.1565729686838434/1567814953296574/2typ 3&theat er Benefits of Electoral Bonds WILL BRING substantial transparency in political donations against the present system of contributions in the 8OD election funding mechanism HOW MUCH funding comes, what kind of funding it is, the source of funding and where it will be spent will be known clearly NON DISCLOSURE WILL REINFORCE the 15 DAYS of recipients will ensure people are from a cash system free to donate to any towards clean money ensure they don't political party of their choice between buying and selling will idea of moving away BANK which cheque systemturn into a could not achieve parallel economy
Recent updates Changes in budget 2017-18: 13A of Income Tax Act 1961 Filing of income tax returns has been made mandatory for political parties to claim tax exemption For donors who seek anonymity, the idea of electoral bearer bonds has been mooted, which can be purchased from authorised banks in non- cash mode and gifted to political parties. A cap of Rs. 2,000 has been imposed on cash donations. Section 29C of RPA, 1951 - Amendments have been proposed to t Representation of People Act to exempt political parties from disclosing the names of donors of electoral bonds, even if the donation exceeds Rs. 20,000. Government will remove cap requiring companies to contribute only up to 7.5 per cent of their average net profits for last three financial years